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Michael extends lead in South Africa

2009 European TourMALELANE, South Africa – South African newcomer Anthony Michael extended his lead to two shots halfway through the Alfred Dunhill Championship on Friday following a second-round 3-under 69 at Leopard Creek Country Club.

Six birdies, offset by three bogeys, lifted Michael to a 9-under 135 total in the European Tour’s 2011 season-opener.

Playing his first season on South Africa’s Sunshine Tour, which co-sanctions the tournament, Michael was two clear of countrymen Alex Haindl (66) and Dawie van der Walt (70) and England’s Robert Rock (70).

Haindl had two eagles and two birdies in Friday’s best round to rocket 26 places up the leaderboard and into the three-way tie for second.

British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen missed the cut at 3 over following a second-round 71. Oosthuizen, the highest ranked player in the field at No. 24, opened with a poor 76 on Thursday.

Searching for a maiden professional win, the 25-year-old Michael began with successive birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 and picked up four shots in his first eight holes.

But he bogeyed No. 18, his ninth, and No. 9, his last, to settle for a 69 to build on his one-stroke, first-round advantage.

“I think I hit four fairways today,” Michael said, “which is one better than yesterday. But I am not really worried about the bush – it’s around all the fairways anyway. I feel pretty comfortable standing over the ball.”

Norway’s Marius Thorp was alone in fifth on 6-under 138 despite slipping to a double-bogey 7 on No. 15 – a hole he birdied on Thursday.

Defending champion Pablo Martin of Spain was one of six players tied for sixth at 5 under. He’s joined by South Africa’s Keith Horne, Scotland’s Scott Jamieson, England’s Neil Cheetham, Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen and Sweden’s Oskar Henningsson.

Former European Ryder Cup player David Howell of England jumped 33 places with his 4-under 68 for a share of 12th at 4 under overall.

Also tied for 12th was South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel, who has carded successive 70s and became the highest-ranked player left (at No. 39) following Oosthuizen’s exit.